CBW has learned that the fuel market research report will be publicized in the near future.
The Competition Agency confirms this information and declares that the survey results will be known in about 7-10 days. At this stage the Agency refrains from answering the main question- whether the artificially inflated prices were revealed and what type of sanction may be imposed. A member of the 2030 organization Beka Kemularia says the process took a lot of time due to the volume of material to be studied by the Agency. In his words, the conclusion of the Competition Authority must be supported by facts, therefore, it required months.
As for Kemularia’s expectations from the report, he notes that if it is decided to impose a fine on companies, the latter is likely to appeal and processes will move to the Court. When asked what will be changed in the market after the conclusion is announced, Kemularia talks about the changes in prices, because the prices will become competitive and fair. In addition, Kemularia explains that we should not expect the sharp decrease in prices. Kemularia believes that such a precedent would minimize the probability of the agreed prices and the situation in the market will be improved in this regard.
The fuel market is the most resonant among the Competition Agency’s “cases”. The Prime Minister has made a statement on this issue and spoke about the need for more study of the fuel importing by the companies. An assumption that the Competition Agency would confirm the artificially inflated fuel prices was made by the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
In late 2014, Irakli Garibashvili ordered the Competition Policy and the Competition Regulatory Authority of Georgia to investigate fuel prices and implement control over the issue. Prime minister stated that the price of oil had dropped by a large percentage on the world market but was not adequately reflected in the price of fuel at Georgian petrol pumps.
Apart from the fuel market, the Competition Agency is studying or has already studied other cases, including an alleged monopoly of Tskaltubo thermal and mineral waters (was not confirmed), abuse of dominant position on the flour market (research in progress), the alleged violation of the Georgian law on competition by “Trans Caucasus Terminals” and other facts.
Monitoring of the coffee market has been carried out and revealed that concentration levels on the market are also low, which, presumably, indicates that no problem is present in the market in terms of competition. Last December Prime Minister gave the Competition Agency 10 days to answer to the question – “why gasoline prices in the Georgia market are not adequate to the world prices”. On January 5, 2015 the Competition Agency presented the Prime Minister the interim report on fuel prices.